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Thread: Old vs New Oval

  1. #26
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Thanks, Peter. I think you were in my list too. Sorry about memory lapse. I must have written it down somewhere. Come to think of it, I think Peter Sawchyn makes ovals that way too.
    Jim

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  2. #27
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Others have said it better, but the difference in sound between a Collings and vintage Gibson is vast. Now, I like both. My Collings isn't an oval, but I wouldn't hesitate to play Irish music on it (if I could).

    Another difference, the necks on the two instruments feel very different. The Gibson is usually a wider, chunkier neck. And depending on when it was built could be very round or very V shaped. Most Collings necks have a soft V shape that is much smaller for the most part. Both are good, but some folks might prefer one over the other for playing long periods of time.

    FWIW, I'm also in Minnesota. Good luck in your search.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
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  3. #28
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    yes! I forgot Peter!

    I've always enjoyed seeing those oval-hole mandolins!

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  4. #29
    Registered User MarkusSpiel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I have a X braced A with a long neck my bandmate build and got a F2 this year. Great instruments but I almost play the gibson all the time. I really like the big v profile neck and the tone of course!

    F2:
    https://youtu.be/66DeLqApa3A

    A:
    https://youtu.be/NXXmIld0OUE

  5. #30
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    The issue of necks is real. I love the sound is the old Gibson As, but the necks are to me huge and uncomfortable to play. I noticed that the F4 and 2s have some what more shaped necks. I played one Loar era that had even more sculpted necks. I think I remember reading here that those Loar era 4s use truss rods like the 5s that allow the thinner necks.

  6. #31
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Had both ! I prefer the modern sound oval, preferably a Girouard oval over other modern style oval mandolins.
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  7. #32
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Responses certainly show that the preference over the sound of a modern hybrid oval vs a Gibson or Gibson style A is very personal. I'm one of those who prefers the Gibson sound. A hybrid is like labradoodle: it's either best of both breeds or worst, depending on your p.o.v. So far to my ear the modern instruments lack the depth and resonance and warmth of a Gibson style but have lost the clarity and chop of an F hole. But I'll keep trying them.

    As for the necks, I think it takes a while to get used to a Gibson neck but that it does happen over time. Personally, I play my oval hole in old time music where I hardly ever go past the 7th fret so the neck is not a problem (nor the flat fingerboard). If i take it to a bluegrass jam, I find myself struggling. Which is why I don't.

    One difficulty is finding an old Gibson without issues. You really do need to try them in person, as I've found out. From long distance, a Pomeroy, Old Wave, Mike Black, Coombe, etc. would be a safer bet. I notice that there's a Pomeroy available on his web site (nfi). The sound samples do sound good to my ear. Never tried one in person.
    Cary Fagan

  8. #33
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    At our house we really like the hybrid oval holes Bruce Weber made in the day. They have that old sound, with more frets and X bracing that lends a little more punch. They are out there and in good shape. I have not been impressed with a lot of the newer oval holes. Having said that there are some nice old Gibson A's to be had. But at our house, we really like the Weber oval holes.

  9. #34
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    So, have we thoroughly confused Matt yet?
    Charley

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  10. #35
    Registered User MarkusSpiel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    So, have we thoroughly confused Matt yet?
    😁 I guess

  11. #36
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I will second (or whatever number it is up to) an Old Wave from Bill Bussmann. I have an F4 copy that he made for me, and it is great. Made old style, with no elevated fingerboard, 12th fret join. I also have an early 1920s Gibson F4, and the Old Wave certainly keeps up with it.

    I have also played a number of Bill's oval hole A models, and they have that Gibson oval sound. Plus, you can get the neck profile that you want.
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  12. #37
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Just for giggles, I pulled out the Hester F4 and the Collings MT2-O and played a number of different genre songs on each back to back as closely as possible to see how they compared. While they are both relatively recent in vintage, they are both from different schools of mandolin building. F4 comes from the old school, short neck attached to the top. MT2-O is new school raised neck. I was surprised more by the similarities than the differences. Both have great tone and for the most part similar. The Collings was more precise and slightly more volume. Hester tone is a bit more round and full with more overtones. Mostly more similar than different.

  13. #38

    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I have an MT2-O and a '23 A-Jr. The are far more similar than they are different, in my opinion. I like them both, a lot. My feeling is that the Collings is a 'progression' of the original, different enough, but close enough also. I've played other hybrid ovals and they are not really in the same ballpark as the Collings, let alone the Gibson. The Collings is obviously a little less finicky than the old Gibson, but the Gibson never offends or annoys by any means.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

  14. #39
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I had Will Parsons make me a long-necked oval hole with a neck shape and fretboard radius similar to my 83 Flatiron A. It's a great instrument, that doesn't sound quite as "tubby" as some old Gibsons, at least not to my ears. Others have said they hear that "old Gibson vibe" in it. It's a beautiful and easy-to-play instrument and definitely the right choice for me over a vintage Gibson.

    Only thing I would change if I could do it over is order a speed neck from the start. I removed the finish myself and like it. Not sure what Mr. Parson's building status is these days but he should be findable on the internet.

  15. #40
    Registered User Aaron Bohnen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Maybe it's worthwhile looking at some of the main structural choices in the instruments we're discussing. I know I've noticed real differences between oval-hole mandolins with raised vs attached fingerboards, 12-fret vs 15-fret neck joints, and X-bracing vs transverse bracing.

    The old school Gibson A design with attached fingerboard, 12-fret neck joint and transverse bracing is really different to the modern ovals with their raised fingerboards, 15-fret neck joints and X-bracing. Of course there are plenty of other possible combinations of these design elements and all the additional dimensions of woods, design and workmanship yield a wide variety of choices. That's a big part of the fun of taste-testing mandolins!

    I really love Peter Otroushko's oval-hole sound and starting from there eventually brought me to my own favorite oval-hole mandolin, a Gavin Baird F4. It has a raised fingerboard, 12-fret joined neck and transverse bracing. So it's somewhere in between the old and new school in these structural choices. I love its complex tone. Exploring some of the design variations of fingerboard elevation, neck joint and bracing system helped me in expanding my horizons and provided directions to explore in the world of oval-hole mandolins.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by Aaron Bohnen; Jul-26-2020 at 2:01am.
    Gavin Baird F4 & F5, Weber Octar, Gibson K-1, Guild D50, Martin D35, Yairi DY-84, etc...

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  17. #41

    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I recently acquired an MTO, I love the old Gibson sound and feel but for what I do the MTO is more suitable.

    It has a lot to do with your playing style and environment. If you want to be able to really push hard in volume and tempo, the Collings is a great choice. (I am pretty much playing 8n the same genres as you are).

    I am also very attached to the radiused board, and coming from an Eastman (like me) you may be too whether you realize it or not—a modern refinement. And I definitely prefer the wider frets and slightly wider neck (than the Eastman) of the Collings.

    Now that the Collings ovals have been around a decade or so, I think more used ones, like I got, are starting to show up on the market—but all in all it seems that owners are loathe to part with them.

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  19. #42
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Personally I think way too much attention is made to tranverse vs X bracing. I have done both and there is a difference, but the difference is quite small, more of a subtle difference, and I have always preferred the sound I get from X bracing. It is important to compare apples with apples, mine were identical except for the bracing. Modern oval hole mandolins with the long neck almost invariably have a smaller body, and that makes a bigger difference to the sound than the bracing. Without a smaller body, the bridge has to be moved too far forward. The modal frequencies will all be higher with a smaller body, assuming the construction is the same, and that has quite a significant affect on the sound. On my small bodied oval hole mandolins I compensate for that by making them lighter, inspired by the Lyon and Healy mandolins, and they do sound more like a Lyon and Healy than a Gibson. Different sound for different tastes.
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  21. #43
    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Don’t forget Waterloo’s WL-M. It’s a flattop design but after owning one for a month or so it definitely hangs with an arch top oval-hole.

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  22. #44
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I don't know if Matt is still keeping up with this thread or if he has already chosen a mandolin but this Pomeroy just landed in the classifieds....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/158163#158163

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  23. #45
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    There isn’t much depreciation built in for an instrument that was $2400 new:

    http://pomeroyinstruments.com/pomero...n-oil-varnish/
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  24. #46
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    And a much mentioned Mike Black A mandolin just landed....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/158256#158256

    That won't last long.

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    Charley

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  25. #47
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    FYI, I'm the one who bought the Pomeroy. It had just been purchased in March by someone (a member here) who had to sell it for some reason (I was sorry to hear) so it is virtually new. And the mandolin store needs to make something. So I thought saving 4 or 500 dollars (I think the current price would be 2500 new) was fair to the sellers and enough to make a difference for me to make the decision. Especially as used Pomeroys and Blacks come up so rarely. Also, I liked the finish on it. (If you're interested in seeing it, on the Pomeroy site under recent mandolins it is number 258.

    One day I may document my long road to finding the right oval hole for me. I hope this one is it. Cheers.
    Cary Fagan

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  27. #48
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Great looking mandolin Cary! Hope its a keeper.
    Charley

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  28. #49
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    I love the understated look and the sound files sound quite nice, too. Here’s the link.
    Jim

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  29. #50

    Default Re: Old vs New Oval

    Congrats, Cary. Let us know how you like it when you receive the Pomeroy.
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